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PFAS Found in Tampons

PFAS Found in Tampons
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More disturbing evidence of the presence of toxic “forever” chemicals in common consumer products. Action Alert!

A new report has found that five of 23 tampon products tested positive for the presence of PFAS “forever” chemicals, including two brands labeled “organic.” This represents another route of exposure to these dangerous chemicals that seem to be ubiquitous in our environment and consumer products. How long will the EPA sit by idly and watch while Americans continue to be exposed to these dangerous chemicals?

The report, issued jointly by Mamavation and Environmental Health News, found that 22 percent of the samples tested positive for the presence of organic fluorine, an indicator of the presence of PFAS. Levels of PFAS varied from 19 parts per million (ppm) to 28 ppm. The products that tested positive for organic fluorine were:

  • Maxim Hygiene Organic Cotton Cardboard Applicator Tampons — 28 ppm organic fluorine
  • OrganYc Complete Protection Tampons (made with organic cotton) — 24 ppm organic fluorine
  • Playtex SPORT Regular & Super Tampons — 19 ppm organic fluorine
  • Tampax Cardboard Applicator Unscented Tampons — 23 ppm organic fluorine
  • Up & Up (Target Brand) Regular Tampons — 23 ppm organic fluorine

As we noted in our coverage of hair dyes, the organic certification process is a USDA program for agricultural products. Its use on consumer products like tampons is meaningless, though individual ingredients like cotton can be organic. It appears the use of organic cotton in tampons is not a guarantee that PFAS are avoided.

There were products using organic cotton that did not test positive for organic fluorine:

  • Honey Pot Organically Grown Tampons
  • Live Better (CVS) Organic Cotton Tampons regular 
  • Lola Super Tampons Made with 100% organic cotton 
  • o.b. Organic 100% Organic cotton
  • OI Girl Organic Regular Tampons
  • My Box Shop 32 Organic Tampons 
  • Natracare Organic Tampons with applicator 
  • Seventh Generation Organic Cotton Tampons
  • TOP Organic Cotton Tampons with plant-based compact applicator 
  • Viv for your V Organic Cotton Tampons with Plant-based applicator 

Organic cotton products are less likely to be contaminated with other chemicals like glyphosate and other toxic pesticides.

PFAS aren’t the only cause for concern in tampons and other feminine hygiene products. We previously reported on studies showing that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and phthalates contaminate these products. Tampons and other feminine care products are often made from cotton, which is typically genetically engineered and soaked in pesticides, or rayon, which is made from wood pulp and then bleached. The highly permeable nature of the vaginal wall means that these toxins are likely getting absorbed with each use over a prolonged period of time.

And of course, there are many other ways in which we are exposed to PFAS. We’ve reported on PFAS being found in food packages, drinking water, vegetables, honey, dairy, prescription drugs, dental floss, and a huge swath of consumer products (either added intentionally to make products grease or water resistant, or accidentally through the manufacturing process).

Our previous coverage has detailed what the science is uncovering about the human health consequences of PFAS exposure; these health effects are summarized nicely in the following graphic:

As a result of the pervasive use of PFAS in consumer, military and industrial products, there is now widespread contamination of PFAS in our water, air, food and soil across the world. Meanwhile, our government permits the continued use of these chemicals despite their extreme toxicity and turns a blind eye on thousands of dangerous PFAS compounds. This is completely unacceptable.

Action Alert! Write to Congress and the EPA, telling them to ban PFAS chemicals. Please send your message immediately.

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